The Trans Wessex is a mixed terrain Self Supported Race for Solo and Team (2 riders) suitable for gravel bikes. Starting at Hampton Court in London the route Travels West to Bristol along ancient tracks and byways before returning to London.
Starting at Hampton Court in London the route Travels West to Bristol along ancient tracks and byways before returning to London. We have created a new race format which requires participants to set off at a time of their choosing so long as it falls within 7 days of the specified arrival date. Should a rider arrive after the finish line closes despite having recorded a fastest time they will not appear on the leader board. The key will be strict scheduling while allowing enough time for unforeseeable delays.
We estimate the leaders will take under 3 days to complete the course. Those aiming for a successful completion will need to cover an average of 114 km per day.
The Trans Wessex is an annual 820 km self supported “All Road Race” that must be completed within 7 days. Racers must meticulously calculate how long it will take them to complete the course with the top place on the podium going to the last person to depart the start. Should a competitor, despite recording the fastest time, arrive after the finish line has closed they will be excluded from the General Classification. As a guide it is expected that the race winner will take some 2 days to complete the route with those not chasing a podium finish a more leisurely 7 days.
Sign On & Rider Briefing
1. Sign on: Will be from 16:00 until 19:00 at The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court, London KT8 9BN. Riders to collect their “Rider Packs” which include confirmation that the Earth Sports App is installed and working on your smart phone, rider numbers and information.
2. Any Rider Packs that have not been collected by 19:00 (British Summer Time) at the close of registration will be offered to any ready, willing and able cyclist that wants to throw their hat into the ring for a nominal £100 entry fee (to cover tracking costs). Please note Entry fees will not be refunded if a competitor is unable to sign on and their place is already allocated to a reserve. If there are more riders than no show places a draw will be made at 19:05.
3. The Start format will be as follows:
a. Start Neutral Location – London to Ridgeway at Chinnor @ 76.1 km
b. Start Proper – Ridgeway at Chinnor
4. Start (Neutral): From 07:00 - 07:17 hrs at, Mitre Inn Hotel, London KT8 9BN
5. Neutral Start Sequence: Competitors will be released in groups of 12 at 2 min intervals from The Mitre Hotel. Groups are allowed to stay together to the start proper. Groups will be selected based on order of sign on.
6. Neutral Zone: The route is neutralised for the first 76.1 km with the clock of the start proper being activated a rider passes through the virtual start gate at Chinnor.
7. Start Proper: Each riders clock will start as they pass through the virtual gate at Chinnor. There will be no marker indicating the start line, therefore participants should familiarise them themselves with the start proper location using google maps.
8. Group Riding at the Start: Company Riding or Drafting other riders or vehicles is not permitted in the Trans Wessex. However, you may be riding in a group for the 76.1 km neutralised section to the start proper. From the Start proper at the Ridgeway at Chinnor competitors will directly proceed onto the first gravel section, at this point it is mandatory that all riders should proceed alone. After Chinnor any riders spending long periods of time very close to one another will come under close scrutiny by the race director.
9. Paced & Company Riding (Drafting): Competitors must ride entirely alone and unassisted and not ride in company or take shelter (commonly known as drafting) from other riders or vehicles. A competitor overtaking another must pass without receiving or giving shelter. The onus of avoiding company riding shall be upon the rider overtaken. If a rider should catch up another rider, they should try to pass as quickly as possible and must not in any circumstances ride close behind so as to take shelter from the wind. Riders should set their own pace and not use another rider as a pace maker. Nor is it in order to ride alongside and even to ride a few metres behind for any appreciable distance. In the spirit of the sport, caught riders should not disturb the performance of the rider catching them by repassing and/or riding closely behind them, except when they can sustain that move. This is generally considered to mean that the caught rider should allow a reasonable gap to develop of some 30 to 50 metres. Any riders seen via the live tracking website or otherwise proved to be drafting may be awarded time penalties or even disqualified at the discretion of the race director; this may include the draftee as well as the drafter. It is a rider’s responsibility to ensure that they are not being drafted, as well as that they are not drafting themselves.
Support & Assistance
10. Earth Sports strives for equal opportunity for every rider, from those living along the route to those living on other continents. To complete the Route, a rider may resupply food / equipment, rent a room, launder clothing, and even service their bike at commercial outlets along the way. The intent is to ride unsupported between towns, and function self-supported when in towns. Any services utilised must always be commercially available to all challengers. No private resupply, no private lodging.
11. Use of Motor Vehicles: A competitor shall not be preceded, accompanied, followed by or in any way receive assistance from a motorised vehicle or its occupants.
12. Feeding: Competitors may not be handed any food, drink or equipment from a helper and may only purchase such items from commercial outlets. Every precaution must be taken to ensure that other traffic or members of the public are not impeded during rest stops.
13. Visitation: Self supported racing is not intended to be a live spectator sport! However, mid-race support from challengers’ family or friends is permitted so long as no assistance is offered, or supplies provided
14. Shipping/receiving supplies (to the course): In the name of equal opportunity for international riders and to minimize the race ‘footprint’, challengers are encouraged to race as reliant as possible on commercial services along the route. However, in advance of the start, a competitor may cache food or equipment at Royal Mail Post Offices using the local collect service, a scheduled lodging stop or a bike shop. Typically, this could be to ship a replacement chain and fresh bike shorts to a point on route.
15. Mechanical Breakdown: In the event of a serious mechanical that renders a bike un rideable, a rider may use a motor vehicle in any direction in order to repair the problem. The location of the incident must be well documented by the Earth Sports tracker. A rider may also receive assistance returning back to the exact location of the breakdown to begin forward progress. Again, the entire incident, from breakdown to return to the route must be fully documented by the Earth Sports tracker.
16. Mechanical assistance: a rider may be assisted by a third party in receiving emergency repair/replacement items only. Food resupply is not considered an emergency. Emergency items must be shipped using a commercial shipper such as Royal Mail, UPS, Fed-Ex, DHL, etc. Items may not be delivered privately by family, friends or even anonymous persons. Items may only be shipped to a commercial address (P.O., hotel, bike shop, etc.), provided that the address is equally available to all racers. Use of a private address (residence) along the route is forbidden. Use of social media to ‘broadcast’ for help (ie. conjure ‘trail magic’) is also forbidden.
Medical Treatment & Anti-Doping
17. Medical Treatment: No person may compete whilst knowingly suffering from any disease, mental or physical disorder or is undergoing treatment which makes it unsafe or undesirable to do so.
18. Use of Proscribed Substances: The anti-doping rules of the race are the UK Anti-Doping Rules published by UK Anti-Doping (or its successor), as amended from time to time. Such rules shall take effect and be construed as the rules of the Tour Britannia. Note:- You can find the UK Anti-Doping Rules HERE [http://www.ukad.org.uk/resources/document/uk-anti-doping-rules]
Navigation & Route
19. Trans Wessex Route: Aside from permitted deviations to seek lodging, resupply or mechanical servicing/repair, racers must always ride 100% of the route as denoted by the most current map edition published by Earth Sports. This means if a rider leaves the route for any reason, they must re-join the route at the exact same point. There is a GPX file of the official ‘race route’. Please ensure you have the final published GPX, TCX or FIT file which will be available on the Earth Sports Website.
Tracking & Navigation
20. Earth Sports Tracking App or GPS tracker are a requirement: Please download the Earth Sports tracking app from your app store powered by Map My Tracks Athletes that own a Spot device can register their device with Earth Sports. Those that are hiring a Spot device will collect their device at sign on. We recommend that you use AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries or AAA Energizer™ NiMH Rechargeable in your Spot tracker. Please remember to bring your device and batteries to sign on so we can test your device. If you are hiring a device AAA Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries will come pre installed. The batteries will last about 10 days so you may need to purchase more on route.
21. GPS navigators: Please ensure you are familiar with and have tested your device as well as using the correct route file format.
22. Mobile phones: Mobile service is spotty in remote areas, and reliance on a mobile phone as a rider’s sole means of outside communication is not advised.
23. Earth Sports use virtual checkpoints via the Earth Sports Tracking App to minimise the carbon footprint of events, so participants should not expect to encounter any event personnel on route. We know it can be lonely, but we prefer not to have vehicles out on course burning fuel. But rest assured we will be dot watching as well as receiving alerts should a participant stray off route.
Roads Types & Restrictions
24. The majority of the race takes place on A, B and unclassified roads. You will encounter the following types of carriageway along the route:
I. “A” roads
II. “B” roads
III. Unclassified Roads
IV. Byways (gravel)
V. Cycle paths
VI. Single track
25. Sections of the routes are only traversable at certain times, please take this into account when planning your rest strategy:
26. Lulworth Ranges (Dorset): this 3 km section is only open on Satuday or Sunday.
27. Ashton Court Estate (Bristol): 08:00 to 21:15
28. Competitors: Riders wishing to enter as a team shall be entitled to enter 2 competitors, with the time being taken from the last rider crossing the finish line
29. Retirement: Should a team member withdraw from the race the remaining team member may continue and will receive a finishers time but will not appear in the General Classification.
30. Finish: The Finish line will open at 09:00 close 12:00 at The Mitre Hotel Hampton Court, London KT8 9BN
31. Finishers Drinks and Presentation of Awards: 12:00 -14:00
 Pre-arranged is defined as prior to the start of the race clock.
 Outside assistance is defined as any third party assistance in navigation or lighting and any non-commercial assistance in food resupply and/or lodging. A service is deemed ‘commercial’ when it is for commerce, equally available to all racers.
 Racers may accept motorized transport backwards, directly off and/or back to route from bystanders, passers-by or commercial transportation ONLY. A racer may not contact friends or family (private parties) living along the route for direct assistance.
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The guiding principle of self-supported riding is simply to ‘do it all yourself’, with the rules aims being to provide equal and fair opportunity for all riders so times are comparable. The principle also eliminates any advantage gained by those who live near or have contacts along the route, and only allows the use of commercially available outlets for services, food and accommodation. The onus is on the individual to the honour the system upon which this type of challenge is based; ultimately it depends on each rider’s integrity. Each event will specify if the race is a group start or an Independent Time Trial (ITT).
You don’t have to be aiming for a course record to get out there and challenge yourself against a route. Immersing yourself in the personal challenge of completing a route will bring its own just rewards, through the training and preparation, the ride experience, and attaining your goal. Each Earth Sports route requires a different level of bike handling proficiency, fitness, and experience, from the basic gravel safaris where services and bailout routes abound, right up to wilderness travel where a high degree of competency in the outdoors is necessary to safely travel, fast and light. Earth Sports goal is to encourage more cyclists to try self supported riding and to push their comfort zone, it’s better for the environment and ultimately more rewarding to the athlete.
Any entrant not accepted will be notified, by email, and a refund of the entry fee will immediately be issued.